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Lucky 7: Shippin’ Up to Boston

Every decade, it seems Hollywood gets fixated on a certain geographic region of the U.S. For example, the South was a consistent backdrop for profitable films in the 1970s (Smokey & The Bandit, Deliverance, basically ANY Burt Reynolds movie), the 1980s was obsessed with sunny California (everything from Die Hard to Lost Boys) and in the ’00s and this current decade, the mean, Irish-influenced streets of Boston — South Boston in particular — have given us many a memorable movie.

So in light on this holiest and most celebrated of Irish days, Pop-Break delivers its second annual installment of the Lucky 7 Films Series — Shippin’ Up to Boston.
— Bill Bodkin


[Films Are Listed in Alphabetical Order]

Blown Away (1994)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Tommy Lee Jones, Lloyd Bridges, Forrest Whitaker, Suzy Amis, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Director: Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, The Reaping)
Most people forget about this 1994 action flick, probably because it came out during the Speed phenomenon. It revolves around newly married and near-retirement Boston bomb squad ace James Dove (the always on-point Jeff Bridges), whose crew is being systematically taken out by IRA bomber Ryan Gaerity (Tommy Lee Jones in a scene-chewing performance), a man from Dove’s past. Thrilling action sequences, a salty performance from Lloyd Bridges and a U2-heavy soundtrack make this a really good sleeper film. Also, The Dude sporting a Bahston accent is pretty cool, too.

Boondock Saints (1999)
Starring: Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Willem Dafoe, David Della Rocco, Ron Jeremy
Director: Troy Duffy
Okay, this isn’t Citizen Kane, but what Boondock Saints is, is a blood-and-guts, run-and-gun, smart-alecky, over-the-top action thriller that has captivated the hearts and minds of college students across the U.S. Laced with bucket of bullets and blood, Roman Catholic quotations and in-your-face swagger to it, it’s hard not to love it. Its cult status is the stuff of legend, and if you haven’t seen this film leave the hype and your brain at the door — both may get in the way of you enjoying a fun movie.

Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day (2009)
Starring: Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Julie Benz, Peter Fonda, Judd Nelson
Director: Troy Duffy
For years, we heard the rumors of a Boondock sequel, and in 2009 it was finally delivered. All Saints Day is in no way as good as the original film, and that’s probably due to the legend that grew over the past 10 years about the film. But when all’s said and done, All Saints Day it’s still a helluva good time. The blood and bullets fly as fast and as furious as the booze and foul language, which is always enjoyable in my book. However, it lacks the bare-knuckle appeal and originality the first film so proudly displayed a decade prior, substituting “messages” about manhood, which are a way over the top and unnecessary.

The Departed (2006)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin
Director: Martin Scorsese
It’s ironic that two extremely Italian artists — Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese — created not one, but two great films about the Irish (this and Gangs Of New York). This film, based on the Asian crime drama The Infernal Affairs, revolves around two South Bostonians (DiCaprio and Damon) who are working as moles for the State Police and the Irish mob, respectively. Brilliant camera work, dynamite acting and enough classic rock and Dropkick Murphy’s music to make Guinness course through your veins, make this not only a classic Irish film but a highly re-watchable Scorsese flick.

The Fighter (2010)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Mickey O’Keefe
Director: David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees)
Mark Wahlberg’s passion project about boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward is the only film on this list that isn’t a crime drama. What this film is, is one of the best movies you’ll watch about boxing. Yes, it’s up there with Rocky, Cinderella Man (supremely underrated) and Raging Bull — and it’s all due to the acting. Wahlberg, Adams, Leo and Bale in particular, give career performances. Bale’s performance as Dickie Ecklund is one of the best supporting actor performances in recent cinematic history. Yes, even better than the late Heath Ledger’s Joker. The boxing sequences are as hard-hitting as the Boston-based family drama.

Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Amy Ryan, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Amy Madigan
Director: Ben Affleck
If 2007 had today’s Top 10 Best Picture nominees, Gone Baby Gone would’ve have been nominated. It’s a taught, tense whodunit, starring Casey Affleck as the morally conflicted Irish Catholic private detective Patrick McKenzie. Patrick is brought in by a drug-addled Southie mom (Amy Ryan in an Oscar-nominated performance) to supplement the police investigation of her missing daughter. But the deeper he digs, things just get more and more complicated.

The Town (2010)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively, Slaine, Chris Cooper, Pete Postlethwaite
Director: Ben Affleck
The Town proved that Ben Affleck is not only “back” as an actor, but his work as a writer and director are nothing to joke about. His attention to detail, down to casting South Boston natives as extras and bit players (as he did in Gone Baby Gone) is impeccable. His manipulation of sound, editing and color is also amazing. However, it’s the down-and-dirty action and the crackerjack dialogue (most of which is delivered by Oscar-nominated supporting actor Jeremy Renner) is where Affleck’s script and direction work the best. This is a must-see.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


  1. What about “Good Will Hunting”?

    Otherwise, this list is pretty on point (forgetting the stupid Boondocks movies)

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